This past weekend I attended the Desert Dreams Conference in Tempe, Arizona. Even though I know a lot of people in that particular chapter (I’m not a member.), I had mixed feelings about attending. A lot had to do with the fact that my career has wandered away from traditional publishing. That doesn’t mean that I won’t publish with N.Y. in the future. It just means that for now I’m happy to blaze my own trail. Anyway, I’m genuinely grateful that I went. I learned a couple of craft tricks, spoke to some amazing people, and received quite a bit of inspiration–especially from Toni McGee Causey and Christie Craig. I also had a good time bantering with Mary Buckham. Wish I would’ve got to speak with her some more in private. Had a feeling we’d get on like a house on fire so to speak. *g Shelley Coriell did a wonderful goal-setting talk. I’m still struggling with her worksheet. Not because it’s super hard, but because I’m unsure what I want. (Story of my life.;)
Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking about the meaning of friendships. I’m the first to admit that I don’t make friends easily. I AM standoffish. I like to get a read on people before I try to build a bond. Because of this trait, I can come off as aloof and quiet, even though quiet is not in my nature. When I was younger, I was much more open and didn’t really have that problem. I didn’t have a lot of ‘close’ friends, but I did have a lot of friends. I mostly blame my years at the airline, which burned me out on being around people, but publishing hasn’t helped. I’ll explain why.
When you first start out in the publishing industry, you tend to gravitate to people at your own writing level. Then after much work (If you haven’t done the work, no amount of self-publishing will make you an author. Unless of course you enjoy being the Kardashian of the author world. If that’s the case, knock yourself out.) and if the stars align, you sell something to a publisher. At this point, the friends that you made divide into two categories: the ones that sold, too and the ones that are still trying to sell. (Obviously with the advent of self-publishing things have changed.) As your career builds and you sell more books, the original group divides again. This time by level of success. This is where friendships get tricky. Within this final group dynamic, you’re going to get three types of friends: The kind that will stick by you and continue to cheer you on. (The best kind.) The kind that drift away because they get too busy. You’ll still be friends, but you won’t have time to talk much. And the final kind, the kind that used your friendship as a career stepping stone. They tend to break off contact once they reach whatever level they’re striving for. The latter is the most hurtful because they only appear to be your friend. The second it’s no longer convenient/helpful they’re gone.
The trick is to figure out which is which before you’re hurt. I used to have a dear friend in L.A. He had what he called the L.A. Friendship Rule. He told me to never call anyone a friend in L.A. until you’ve known them for six months. His theory (which by the way turned out to be pretty accurate) was that if someone was going to flake, they’d do it within that six month time period. It’s a rule I forgot to apply to publishing and honestly should have. Don’t you make the same mistake.
Onto new adventures… I finished my first graphic novel script. I’d never written one before and had to look up how it was done. Thank you Amazon for next day delivery. The lovely and immensely talented Marjorie Liu was kind enough to send me samples of her scripts to help me. (Did I mention that she’s wonderful? And that she writes X-men comics?) Anyway, I wrote the script in a day, but it took over a week to edit. I am incredibly proud of it and really hope it’s not my last one. I quite enjoyed doing it. The style works well with my particular writing style.
I am currently in the midst of writing the next Moonlight Kin novel/novella. At this point, I have no idea what it’s going to turn out to be, but I’m really enjoying the story and the characters. Hopefully you will, too. It will be finished by the end of this month. I need it done before I leave for the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans.:)
I’m also nearing the end of my Christine Feehan series re-read. Every year I re-read three different series, Christine Feehan’s original Dark books (the first eleven), Stephanie Laurens’ first Cynster books (the first ten), and D.B. Reynolds’ Vampires in America series. I do this when I can’t settle on a new book. I know this doesn’t help my monstrous TBR pile go down, but it can’t be helped.
In the meantime, Cynthia Eden, Vivi Anna, Patrice Michelle, Erica Stevens, Michele Hauf and I have decided to change our Love’s First Bite cover. Same great stories. Nothing else has changed. So if you’ve already bought the book, you’re good. You don’t need to grab this one. If you haven’t bought the anthology, feast your eyes on this: